In a word . . . Philosophy

So much of our youth was wasted on slight philosophies offering shallow answers to overwhelming questions

My life is plagued by the great questions these days. "What is for the dinner tonight?" Isn't it about time I took a look at Games of Thrones/Breaking Bad/Peaky Blinders?" "Why do some men loosen their belts and not just zip down at urinals?"

It must be an age thing. I no longer wonder where we came from, where we are going to, or what it is all about. Such questions as trouble the young. One comes to realise that there is nothing more fatuous than seeking answers to questions which just splinter into more questions. I no longer seek answers.

Now when I hear someone say “. . . to be or not to be?” I think of Shakespeare and Hamlet’s soliloquy and wonder at a genius who so successfully portrayed a young man immobilised by questions. Or the futile quest for what is not there.

So much of youth is wasted delving in nothingness, while the present sails on by, oblivious.


In younger days I too entertained philosophies until, presented with a plethora as in a supermarket, each bellowing “me, me, I am the one”, I just walked off into life.

Existentialism was a craze then, epitomised by Jean Paul Sartre, that old fraud who brought reason to the cliff edge but did not follow through. An unattractive person too in other ways, yet women swooned over him, adding further to their mystery. More questions there.

Despair was fashionable then, philosophically speaking. Camus' cool, stoic existentialism had more appeal. Best exemplified by Fr Paneloux in The Plague. Yes, I could see myself ministering selflessly, cooly, stoicly, amidst all that suffering, being so much younger then.

Such an antidote to Sartre's ". . . hell is other people." And his The Age of Reason, The Reprieve, his Iron in the Soul, as arrayed on a shelf, like soldiers ready for battles yet to come, in a flat belonging to women friends of deep conviction and deeper compassion.

So much of our youth was wasted on slight philosophies offering shallow answers to overwhelming questions. They are of their time, in a past of flared jeans and Harp with lime.

Now, what is there for dinner tonight? Should I, really, have another glass of wine? Did I turn off the cooker? Or lock the door?

I really must pay more attention.

Philosophy from the Greek philosophia "love of knowledge/wisdom". From philos – love, sophia – knowledged/wisdom.